The Maharashtra government on Friday informed the Bombay high court that it will review its policy for providing police protection to private individuals.
“We have decided to review the policy and consult the revenue department in order to add to it measures for recovery of dues from individuals to whom police protection is provided,” government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani told the court.
He was responding to a public interest litigation filed by advocate Sunny Punamiya complaining about charges of police protection not being collected from individuals and urged the court to order an audit of the police protection provided by the Mumbai police.
The PIL said that 609 policemen protected 242 people residing within the city. Of them, the police are yet to receive Rs23.76 lakh from 51 builders, Rs37.52 lakh from 14 Bollywood personalities and Rs2.44 crore was due from others, including the individuals from the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
During the course of hearing on the PIL on Friday, the court rapped a joint secretary of the home department for wrongly portraying views expressed by it. The high court was irked to note that in a communication forwarded to the director general of police and the senior officials of the home department, the joint secretary had said that the court was also questioning the free of cost police protection provided to constitutional functionaries like the governor, the ministers, judges etc, when the court had specifically made it clear on a number of occasions that it was not at all considering the aspect of police protection provided to the constitutional functionaries.
“He (the joint secretary) has done this either intentionally or due to lack of knowledge,” said the court. “If it is due to lack of knowledge, then it is very dangerous,” said the court, adding, “In that case, the entire security of the state is at stake.”
“You can’t have such officers, who do not understand the (court) proceedings,” the court told Vagyani. “And, you have entrusted the formulation of the new policy to this gentleman (the joint secretary),” the judges added.
The court then summoned the additional chief secretary of the home department who met the judges in their chamber.